MIRAMAR, Fla. - The president of the Broward County Police Benevolent Association has called for a national boycott of Sunoco gas stations after a Miramar police officer was allegedly denied service while in uniform.
That clerk, according to Sunoco officials, has been fired.
The incident reportedly happened Sunday at the company's 1700 S. Douglas Road location.
"On a day when three officers are slain in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and a fourth is fighting for his life, how can anyone deny service to a uniformed police officer?" Broward County PBA President Jeff Marano said in a statement.
Marano said he asks everyone who works in law enforcement or who supports law enforcement to boycott Sunoco.
The officer submitted an incident report after he left the gas station, claiming that the clerk refused to complete his purchase of a bottle of Gatorade because a friend of his was recently arrested.
He said the man approached him while he was getting the Gatorade from the refrigerator area and asked why he arrested his "boy."
The officer asked who the man was referring to and he said, "Ya'll got my boy in the back of that car outside the gas station," the report said.
The officer told the clerk that the person in the police car was arrested and he could not provide him with any additional details.
The officer said the clerk walked away and then refused to ring him up when he approached the counter, telling him, "Get out of my way. I need to attend to customers."
The officer said he asked why the clerk would not complete his purchase and was told, "Because I don't have to. That's why."
The officer said the employee was not wearing a name tag.
"We demand the immediate termination of this employee by Sunoco," Marano said.
Marano sent a letter to the owners of the gas station, condemning their employee's actions.
The clerk spoke to Local 10 News and said he thought the officer was being rude, and decided not to serve him.
"Only because he was being rude to me," the clerk said. "Only because he was being rude and I explained that."
He said he isn't against law enforcement, and that officers often come into the store without incident.
"He didn't really let me finish my sentence," the clerk said. "He just said 'ain't none of your damn business.'"
"The actions of your employee are unacceptable and shows a total lack of respect toward the men and women of law enforcement everywhere," Marano said in the letter. "These are very trying times for those of us in law enforcement, and as a result, we are bonding together like never before. We expect action on your part."
Sunoco has released a statement about the incident.
"Sunoco received a report of an incident involving a police officer and a store employee on July 17 at an independently owned-and-operated Sunoco dealer in Miramar, Florida," the statement said. "The actions described by the police officer are unacceptable and are not something that Sunoco would tolerate at any station bearing the Sunoco brand. After investigating the circumstances in conjunction with the local owner-operator, the employee was terminated. We apologize to the officer involved and to all law enforcement officers who were understandably offended by this incident. The nation's police officers are a precious resource, and Sunoco welcomes them in our stores as customers and protectors of our community every day."
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